German minister cautions against higher wages

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere warned yesterday that a high public sector wage settlement as sought by unions would lead to higher taxes, more state debt and a reduction in services.

Criticising the demand for a five per cent wage increase a year as "exorbitant" after German gross domestic product shrank by five per cent, de Maiziere told Bild am Sonntag newspaper the state cannot afford anything like that in a crisis era.

"The union should be honest in the current situation about what their demand means: higher taxes, more debt, higher fees for day-care, the closing of libraries, theatres and swimming pools. That's not my idea of acting responsibily."

Public sector unions have been running the series of temporary stoppages as part of their push for a five per cent pay rise for some two million workers, a demand rejected by state and municipal employers as unrealistic. Talks are stalled.

"The token strikes are so annoying because the unions have put up an exorbitant wage demand that is completely over the top and they are thus showing disdain for the public," de Maiziere wrote.

 

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